Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I think I've always been writing. My son mentioned a couple of days ago that he remembered me sat at the dinning room table with a notepad always while he and his brothers were growing up.
What makes writing your passion?
It's a way of dealing with problems either personal or community based. It feels good to have an outlet where the problems are always solved. As a fantasy writer I even get to create the environment and all the laws and rules.
How long have you been writing?
Since I first attended school. In the UK you write your news on a morning. Some of that is real. Some fiction...
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Disbelief and elation. There is nothing to compare with seeing your book on the shelf of a local book store.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My novel is written from three characters. The main character is Wilf, who is sixteen and the other two are Katryna and Myra. At the time of writing my sons were in their teens and early twenties. It felt natural to write about this age group.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
The marketing. It kind of sucks the joy out of being creative and writing. It brings you back to the real world when you would much rather be spending time with your characters.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I've been lucky and haven't suffered from "writer's block". I think this is because I like to plot my novels so I have a path to take.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
The reason I keep going is because I enjoy creating stories and sharing them with other people. My advice is to write what you love to read. Add words to the story every day and watch it grow.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Don't wait for inspiration, or the perfect time to write. Just sit down everyday and put words on the page. You can always revise what you've written and mould it into shape, but you can't work with a blank page.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes, I read my book reviews. It's hard to get a bad one, but not everyone loves the something. As long as there are more good than bad you're on the right track.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I'm happy that my story resonated with the reader, and that they felt emotionally invested enough with the story to let me know.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
My two novels are set in Hong Kong where I lived for four years. Myra, in book one, runs a tour business. I used to take tours around the sights of Hong Kong.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Ermentrude has some of me in her, but I didn't base her on me. She is able to say things I wouldn't try to.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I don't think the cover is as important as the story, but it certainly is a window into the story. The cover tries to explain what the story is about. Well, it does with my books.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love connecting with readers. Before the pandemic I had performed quite a number of readings and question and answer sessions.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
It's very humbling to be recognized after an event. At present there isn't a whole lot of that going on, but I'm hoping we can resume in 2021 meeting again at live events.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
That's a difficult one. I love all kinds of writing. It also changes as I grow older. A favorite from my twenties and thirties isn't necessarily so now. Views change and mature.
One of my favorite authors now is Ruth Sepetys. Her prose is engaging and her characterization is amazing. Plus her historical fiction is very well researched.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
My dream would be to be as big as Sarah J Maas or Cassandra Clare.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I re-released the Virus of Beauty with a new cover in November 2020 after I received the rights back from the previous publisher. At that time I took the opportunity to make some amendments.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I'm quite happy being me. I like what I write and who I am.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
What would you say to your readers?
I hope you were lost in the world I have created and cared about the characters. I really hope you lost sleep by not being able to put the book down and had to read one more page or chapter.
Most of all I appreciate that out of all the books you could have read you chose to spend your time reading the novel I created. Thank you.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live in Westchester, New York. I'm married and have three sons and one grandson.
What is your day job if you have one?
I am retired. My day job now is writing.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I like to play golf and tennis. Yoga is my preferred exercise routine, which I try to do daily so I can play golf and tennis. I also enjoy walking. And, of course, I read a lot of books from a wide range of genres, both fiction and non-fiction.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Yes I did. I'm from the North-East of England.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
I'm dyslexic and at first reading wasn't the joy it is today. I made up my own stories and would tell them to my little sister.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have two books which I wrote but never revised. They are both fantasy, sword and sorcery books. They're not good enough for publication, but I learned that I could write a full length novel from them.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
What is your favorite music?
Share a secret with us 🙂